Racer Natalya Freidina On Gender Changes In Motorsport

Racer Natalya Freidina On Gender Changes In Motorsport
Racer Natalya Freidina On Gender Changes In Motorsport

Video: Racer Natalya Freidina On Gender Changes In Motorsport

Video: Motor racing: Japanese female speedster gunning for F1 2022, November

- When did you become interested in cars and who instilled it in you?

- I got a conscious love for cars when I already learned how to drive them. I got behind the wheel for the first time at the age of 14. But the craving for technology was instilled in me long before that, in childhood. For this, we must thank father and grandfather - both were engineers.

- How did it happen that you seriously took up racing when you already gave birth to two daughters and were married?

- There was always a desire, but at first my parents did not support my aspirations. It was a strange hobby for a girl, and there was no way to consider it as a profession at all. Getting married and having children helped me to believe in myself and stop looking back at others. Sometimes it happens: I was in the right place at the right time. My husband and I moved to live in Switzerland, and in Europe there were excellent tracks, modern cars and friends ready to support me financially. Serious partners and sponsors appeared later.

- How did your husband react to your choice? Didn't try to discourage?

- When my husband realized that this was not just a hobby, it was already too late. Of course it wasn't easy. I had to leave often and for a long time. The rhythm of life of the whole family has changed. Now everything is fine, my husband and daughters are proud of me, they support me very much. I hope my experience will serve as a worthy example for my children - you need to go your own way and not turn to anyone.

- In Russia, and not in Switzerland, could you even start to travel professionally?

- There is nowhere to start in Russia. Do you know at least one boy or girl "from the people" who have achieved success in motorsport? There is no such. Development is about accessibility and interest. Previously, there was a state program DOSAAF - children studied for free. And now only wealthy families can afford to have their children go in for motorsport.

- How is your season scheduled? How long does the training and racing sessions take?

- Now I compete in the GT (Gran Turismo) circuit races. The season usually starts in March and ends in October. Only 5-8 races. I fly on racing weekends, which are three days long - from Friday to Sunday. This is free practice, qualification and the race itself. You can relax in the off-season. Although I love an active lifestyle. When there is no racing, they are replaced by skiing, diving, extreme travel in Russia.

Natalia Freidina
Natalia Freidina

Natalya Freidina © from the personal archives of the hero

- Did you experience a strong sense of fear on the track? And have you had any accidents?

- There is always fear. Only fools are not afraid. The main thing is to be able to use and direct fear correctly. Don't panic, don't lose control of the situation. There were, of course, accidents. You cannot feel the line without crossing it. In one of the accidents, I almost lost my left arm. Then it took me a year to recover my motor abilities.

- How difficult is motorsport for a woman physically - overload, high temperature in a racing suit, etc.?

- A woman is more resilient by nature. In Malaysia, I have had moments when the temperature in the car reached 53 degrees Celsius. In the first minutes you ride only on reflexes, the feeling of reality disappears. Then the body gets used to the temperature. It was very hard. For those wishing to lose weight, a note: I lose up to 6 kg over a racing weekend.

- How is your usual day when you are not exercising? What are some of the usual mom and wife activities on your schedule?

- Mom and wife are more serious work than racing. I get up very early at 6:30 in the morning. At 7:15 am I accompany the children to school. Then the usual household chores: walking the dogs, feeding three cats. Then I myself have breakfast and go to the gym for training. I spend lunch with my husband - these are those rare moments when we can talk together. After lunch, I buy groceries and have dinner. I like to cook. In the evening, when the whole family is assembled, we have dinner in the living room with a full table setting. We have two daughters, and it is important for me to instill good manners in them. Children need to be shown by example. At the table, everyone is prohibited from using phones and other gadgets. This is the time for communication between children and parents.

Photo: press service
Photo: press service

© press service

- How many professional racers are there in the world and in Russia today? And why, in your opinion, is racing considered a men's sport?

- There are about a thousand professional racers in the world. Girls compete in all classes: karting, rallying, circuit races, rally-raids. Everywhere, except for "Formula 1". There are few female racers in Russia, I know only five. In my opinion, motorsport is just beginning to develop in our country. We don't have an automobile culture. All over the world, technical sports have long attracted an increasing number of women. To participate in races, you no longer require such physical strength and endurance as before. With advances in technology, it becomes easier and safer to operate the machine.

- It turns out that there are already enough women in the world of auto racing. But how do men perceive them?

- Women and cars are a very striking combination. Of course, most male rivals are dismissive of this. But races have their own rules - the result shows who is who. There will be more and more women in motorsport in the near future. Many organizers are already thinking about creating only women's championships. It's also a great marketing platform.

- Natalya, what is your driving style in everyday life and how often do you receive fines?

- I drive very safely, but quite aggressively. All my cars are speed provocateurs. But the city is not a place to race. And I understand that not every driver has a reaction time comparable to mine. Although the strategy can be used not only on the race track, but also on public roads. From the traffic rules, I can only neglect the exit to the bus lane - patience is not enough.>

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